A federal judge asked Democratic Party fund-raiser John Huang’s attorney Thursday to make him available promptly for questioning in a civil suit against the Commerce Department.
U.S. marshals, ordered Wednesday to serve a subpoena on Huang, reported back to the judge that they couldn’t find him.
The case filed by Judicial Watch Inc., a conservative advocacy group, has received heightened attention because of a recent furor over big political contributions linked to foreign and other controversial sources. The Democratic National Committee has returned some of the contested donations solicited by Huang, who raised an estimated $4 million to $5 million for the Democrats from Asian-Americans this year.
At Thursday’s hearing, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ordered Huang’s attorney, John Keeney, to appear in court Friday and say whether Huang would respond to the subpoena Lamberth issued Wednesday. As of Thursday morning, the marshals were unable to locate Huang to serve the summons.
The judge ordered Keeney, a long-time Democratic Party lawyer who is in private practice, to provide “any records reflecting where Mr. Huang might be found” and to explain why the home address for Huang provided earlier was incorrect.
Keeney told the court Huang was out of town and planned to return to Washington next week. He would not disclose in open court Huang’s whereabouts or the purpose of his trip.
DNC General Counsel Joseph Sandler, also at the hearing, said he did not know where Huang was. Lamberth requested that Sandler appear today and “provide any information his organization has regarding where Mr. Huang might be found.”
Judicial Watch and its general counsel, conservative activist Larry Klayman, maintain that Huang is ducking the court’s order to answer questions from the group’s lawyers. Judicial Watch wants to interview Huang, a former ranking Commerce Department official, and other department employees to determine whether the agency used government-sponsored trade missions to raise funds for the Democrats.
Committee spokeswoman Amy Weiss Tobe said: “We are cooperating fully.” She said the Democratic committee on Wednesday gave the marshals the name and telephone number of Keeney, Huang’s lawyer.
Keeney did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.
Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican National Committee, told reporters. “Somebody’s hiding John Huang….They owe it to the country to come forward.”